Tag Archives: politics

The Blacklist: Lena Horne + Paul Robeson

During the Communist witch-hunts, Lena Horne was forced to choose between her career and her friendships — including her relationship with her mentor and friend Paul Robeson, the “singer, actor and political firebrand.” [You Must Remember This podcast] www.youmustrememberthispodcast.com

AOC just quoted the Watchmen comic/movie

I so, so love AOC right now.

Some of my (older, male) moderate Democrat friends scoff at her. She’s young, she’s brash, she doesn’t have a record of accomplishments, some of her policy ideas are crazy.

This is missing the point. She’s smart, she’s pulled off an electoral coup, she inspires people and gives them energy. Sure, she’s young and has a lot to learn. And I hope she has a long, successful political career ahead of her in which to learn it. AOC for President … in 2039!

Also, Nancy Pelosi is tough as nails and I so, so love her too right now. She is the person that we thought Hillary Clinton was.

The country can have both AOC and Pelosi. The country NEEDS AOC and Pelosi.

Also, all the national politicians I’m inspired about right now are women. Certainly not Chuck Schumer.

Chuck Schumer is the nerdy kid who talks a good game about standing up to the bully when he’s alone with his nerdy friends playing Dungeons and Dragons. And then in the playground Chuck gives the bully his lunch money even BEFORE the bully asked for it. Feh on Chuck Schumer.

National political men, presumably you have balls. Use them for something other than rubbing up against interns.

Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter deliver scathing criticisms of American capitalism. Yes, Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter

Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, an indictment of American capitalism.

America’s “ruling class,” Carlson says, are the “mercenaries” behind the failures of the middle class — including sinking marriage rates — and “the ugliest parts of our financial system.” He went on: “Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.”

[Jane Coaston] www.vox.com

How Robert A. Heinlein went from socialist to libertarian

Jeet Heer discusses Heinlein’s political transformation in a 2014 essay on the New Republic. Heinlein was a socialist in the 1930s who flirted with the John Birch society in the 1950s, and became a Goldwater supporter in the 60s and a staunch libertarian thereafter.

As a young man, Heinlein supported himself through government assistance after being discharged from the Navy with a disability. In later life, he spoke out against “loafers” and the welfare state.

(What is it about prominent libertarians receiving government assistance? Heinlein, Ayn Rand, and I believe there were one or two others.)

The turning point came in 1957. After that year, Heinlein’s books were no longer progressive explorations of the future but hectoring diatribes lamenting the decadence of modernity. A recurring character in these books—variously named Hugh Farnham, Jubal Harshaw or Lazarus Long—is a crusty older man who’s a wellspring of wisdom. “Daddy, you have an annoying habit of being right,” runs an actual bit of dialogue from Farnham’s Freehold (1964). In the worst of Heinlein’s later books, daddy not only knows best, he often knows everything….

Heinlein described some of his books as being “Swiftian” in intent. Regrettably, Heinlein lacked the rhetorical control of the Gulliver’s Travels author. Aside from a 1941 Yellow Peril novel, Heinlein had a strong record as a critic of racism. But in Farnham’s Freehold, Heinlein wanted to use inversion to show the evils of ethnic oppression: he took a middle-class white family and, via a nuclear explosion, threw them into a future where Africans rule the earth and enslave whites. So far, so good. Yet Heinlein’s Africans aren’t just a master race, they also castrate white men, make white women their concubines, and eat white children (white teenage girls being especially tasty). Preaching against racism, Heinlein resurrected some of the most horrific racial stereotypes imaginable. Farnham’s Freehold is an anti-racist novel only a Klansman could love.

Heer doesn’t fully explore the weird sloppiness of “Farnham’s Freehold.” One of the characters in “Farnham’s Freehold,” which came out in the 1960s, is a young African-American working as a house-servant to the hero’s family, the Farnhams. The young man is working his way through college and an accounting degree. Farnham lectures the young man on racism; the young man tells Farnham to STFU until Farnham has ridden a bus through the south as an African-American man.

And the African civilization of the future is a highly advanced, highly technological civilization. The Farnhams’ master always speaks respectfully to the hero and treats Farnham kindly — by the standards of his day. Heinlein knew that some brutal civilizations were also highly advanced; the Romans and Spartans were certainly no pussycats.

But yeah cannibalism stealing white men’s wives WTF?

There is a streak of American ethnocentrism, which is central to today’s culture, that holds that all races and ethnicities are genetically equal but Anglo-American culture is the pinnacle of civilization. Asians, Africans, Jews and other non-Europeans can become good Americans if their cultural heritage is overwritten with the proper Anglo-European model. In its extreme form in the 19th Century you saw American Indian boys kidnapped from their parents and put in military schools designed to make them white; the motto was “Kill the Indian, save the man.”

In its extreme form this is deplorable behavior — and yet it’s isn’t that the way the American melting pot works? I myself am a product of this process; my grandparents were Eastern European Jews who spoke Yiddish as their first language and heavily accented English. I’m an American who speaks only a few words of Yiddish, most of which I picked up from Neil Simon plays and such. And I am entirely pleased with that outcome.

Melting pot culture holds that everybody talks and acts the same, with a slight bit of variation for ethnic heritage. If you want a visual image, think of a Sikh man serving in the military: Turban, beard, and otherwise standard American uniform.

Heinlein and other science fiction of that period definitely corresponds to that school of ethnocentrism. In midcentury science fiction, Earth-people mapped to white Americans, and alien races were stand-ins for other races and nationalities of Earth. You see it in Star Trek too; the Federation and Starfleet are American-like institutions; other races, both human and alien, are free to participate so long as they act like white Americans. Even the aliens wear uniforms that look like human clothes.

Trump calls wall only solution to ‘growing humanitarian crisis’ at border

“President Trump delivered a forceful and fact-challenged televised plea to the nation Tuesday night for his long-promised border wall, declaring “a growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border…. ” [Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez] www.washingtonpost.com

Trump is a lying piece of garbage. Immigrants commit fewer crimes than other residents. That’s true of both legal and illegal immigrants.

Also, in a sane universe, the response to a “growing humanitarian crisis” is sending food, shelter, and medical aid. If you’re a piece of garbage like Trump, you want to build a wall so people can suffer elsewhere, and so you and your criminal cronies can make profit from the contracting fees.

A normal person sees a suffering child and wants to mitigate that suffering. Trump sees a suffering child, takes that child from their parents, and puts the child in a cage. Because they’re profit in being a cage contractor.

How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American Success

With “The Apprentice,” TV producer Mark Burnett mythologized Trump — then a floundering D-lister — as the ultimate titan, paving his way to the Presidency. [Patrick Radden Keefe] www.newyorker.com

An outstanding profile. Keefe notes that Trump and Burnett are kindred spirits. However, Burnett really is a successful businessman. Trump is a fraud, who arguably modeled his current image on Burnett.